Volunteers have been at the forefront of medical, communal, and societal reactions as the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the world over the last year. Volunteers have been credited in headlines globally for a variety of tasks, including assisting with medical care, shopping for vulnerable neighbours, and monitoring senior citizens who live alone.
Thanks, volunteers, for being on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, solving the pandemic’s issues, ensuring everyone’s safety, and being there for people and the environment! Every year on December 5th, the United Nations General Assembly declares International Volunteer Day (IVD). It is seen as a special opportunity for volunteers and institutions to recognise their achievements, discuss their ideals, and publicize their efforts among their communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), UN agencies, government officials, and the commercial sector.
Volunteers are identified as critical stakeholders for community involvement in the WHO’s (World Health Organisation) COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. This demonstrates the importance of volunteers and the significant work they are putting in during COVID-19, according to the WHO. However, acknowledgment is insufficient, particularly when it comes to volunteers’ personal well-being and access to health care.
The goal of this day is to raise public and government awareness of voluntary contributions. It also focuses on enabling people to give their time both at home and overseas.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde
The day’s activities and events emphasise the influence of volunteering and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by encouraging people to volunteer to:
- Help reduce poverty.
Examples of great charities to volunteer with, to help fight this issue include; Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Trussell Trust and Oxfam. More specifically, when wanting to help tackle child poverty, Save the Children UK is a terrific organisation, dedicated in supporting kids to ‘learn, grow and become who they want to be’.
- Ensure that all children have access to primary education.
Perhaps one of the most well-known organisations in the UK, the NSPCC works tirelessly as every child is worth fighting for. This ethos is illustrated in the work they do, if you want to make certain that all children have access to substantial learning and learning facilities then this is a wonderful charity to volunteer for.
- Promote gender equality.
Local councils most likely have volunteering opportunities. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to join a more wide-scale company then Unicef or British Council are your best bets.
- Reduce child mortality.
As mentioned previously, Save the Children UK is a great charity to be associated with when wanting to help tackle child mortality. Nonetheless, growing child mortality rates is an international problem. Volunteering at global medical institutions could be an awesome way to give back on a larger scale.
- Assist in the preservation of the environment.
The Wildlife Trusts is a magnificent organisation enabling people to discover and explore their local environment. There are countless ways you can donate your time. Community gardening, species surveying (such as looking for otters! ), caring for nature reserves, plant identification, and GPS mapping are just a few of the possibilities.
Overall, volunteering is a great way to give back and help your community on a wider scale. To celebrate this year’s International Volunteer Day, why don’t you get up, get out and volunteer! This could be anywhere, from your local community centre to charity shops, care homes to animal shelters or even food banks. Volunteering has endless capabilities. Time is way more valuable than money, volunteering yourself and your time, really helping to give back to your community is priceless.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.